As a holistic nutritionist, I believe in the interconnectedness of all aspects of health. After discussing the topic of mindful eating last week on the blog, it got me thinking about how we need to look at the link between our mental and physical health.
Mental and physical health are not separate entities but rather they work together to create an overall sense of well being. When we prioritize our physical health, we also reap the benefits of improved mental health. One way to improve physical health and, in turn, mental health is through exercise. In this blog post, I’m going to explore the link between exercise and mental health and provide six ways to integrate exercise into your daily routine.
Regular exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the body's natural mood elevators. When we exercise, we experience a sense of euphoria and heightened positivity. This is why exercise is often recommended as a natural remedy for mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
Exercise also reduces stress and promotes relaxation. Stress is a leading cause of many mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. When we exercise, we release tension from our bodies and minds. This allows us to relax and feel more at ease.
In addition to its direct effects on mental health, exercise also helps improve physical health. When we are physically healthy, we are better equipped to handle stressors that could negatively impact our mental health. For example, regular exercise can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, which have been linked to poor mental health outcomes.
Integrating Exercise into Your Daily Routine:
Now that we've explored the link between exercise and mental health let's discuss six ways to integrate exercise into your daily routine.
1. Schedule Time for Exercise
The first step in integrating exercise into your daily routine is to schedule time for it. Block out time on your calendar for exercise, just as you would for any other important appointment or commitment. Whether it's first thing in the morning or during your lunch break, scheduling time for exercise helps ensure that it becomes a regular part of your routine.
2. Start Small
Starting an exercise routine can be overwhelming, but it's important to start small. Set achievable goals for yourself and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. This helps prevent burnout and injury and ensures that exercise remains a positive experience.
3. Find an Accountability Partner
Having an accountability partner can be a great way to stay motivated and committed to your exercise routine. Whether it's a friend, family member, or personal trainer, having someone to exercise with or check in with regularly can help you stay on track.
4. Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Routine
Exercise doesn't have to be a separate activity from your daily routine. Look for ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking or biking to work. These small changes can add up and help you achieve your daily exercise goals.
5. Mix It Up
Doing the same workout every day can quickly become boring and monotonous. Mix up your exercise routine by trying new activities, such as yoga, hiking, or dance classes. This not only keeps things interesting but also challenges your body in new ways.
6. Get Outside
Finally, don't underestimate the power of getting outside and enjoying nature. Whether it's going for a hike in the woods, taking a swim in the ocean, or simply going for a walk in the park, spending time in nature can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. I discuss the importance of connecting with the outdoors and give some tips on how to connect and unleash the power of nature in a separate blog post.
As you can hopefully now see, regular exercise has a positive impact on mental health. It releases endorphins, reduces stress, and promotes relaxation, all of which contribute to improved mental health outcomes. Integrating exercise into your daily routine doesn't have to be overwhelming. By scheduling time for exercise, starting small, finding an accountability partner, incorporating exercise into your daily routine, and mixing it up, you can make exercise a regular and enjoyable part of your life.
Remember, exercise is just one aspect of holistic health, and prioritizing all aspects of your well-being will lead to a more fulfilling and healthy life.
Wishing you health and wellness,